Cheese. The thing we process as a product of cows’ milk, and we use for a multitude of dishes. Loved by almost everybody in the world, the cheese is one of the staples of the kitchen. It can improve (or in a few cases, worsen) the taste of any food you are trying to prepare.
There are even some cultures around the world in which cheese is an important part of their life (or at least up to some extent). One of those examples is the Vicenza province in Italy. Vincenza is the place in which the Asiago cheese is produced exclusively; along with other places around it.
Today’s topic is all about the taste of this Italian cheese. Let’s find out what does Asiago cheese taste like. Also, we could see some related questions about this special kind of cheese. Is it only exclusive to this Italian region or where else is produced (if it is)?
Where is the Asiago cheese produced?
Before we get into our main topic, what does Asiago cheese taste like, we need to check out if it is true that this cheese can only be produced in the Vicenza province and, if it is, why? Let’s take a look into where is the Asiago cheese produced, and what happens if it is produced elsewhere.
First up, the Asiago cheese comes obviously from the city of Asiago. Asiago is in the Italian province of Vicenza at the north of the country. Historically, this is where all started and since then has stayed this way. While you could also get “Asiago cheese” from other parts of the world, only the ones that comes from the region have the expected taste.
This does not mean, however, that there are not other places where this kind of cheese is not made. Other provinces that are near Vicenza also produce the same Asiago cheese; in a very specific area called the protected designation of origin 1107/96 (European way to kind of “copyright” certain special products).
The other territories part of this protected designation of origin includes the entire province of Trento, the city councils of Carmignano di Brenta, Saint Pietro in Gù, Grantorto, Gazzo, Piazzola sul Brenta, Villafranca Padovana, Campodoro, Mestrino, Veggiano, Cervarese S. Croce and Rovolon, in the province of Padua, and the province of Treviso.
There are other places in the world where the Asiago cheese is also produced. However, since those do not have the tradition and ways the cheese is produced in its place of origin, the taste may not be the same; even though it looks the same. And thus, the protected designation of origin is not added.
What makes the Asiago cheese so special?
If we are asking what does Asiago cheese taste like it is possible because is such a special cheese to enjoy, right? Well, if that is the case, we need to ask ourselves; what makes the Asiago cheese so special?
The Asiago cheese started around the year 1000, in the so called “seven town halls” where the sheep farming was predominant. There was this very tasty cheese that came from the sheep’s milk, while the wool was used for textile activities.
Throughout the history of the Asiago cheese, we could see the change from sheep to cow milk around the fifteenth century. We also could see the change made by the industrial era later on; but this cheese production has largely maintained the way is done from around the period.
After the wars making the people move to near provinces and towns ended, the production of this cheese continued; it included new variants called “D’allevo” or aged cheese, and the “Asiago pressato” or tightened Asiago.
Since the cows where the milk from the Asiago cheese come live over 1100 meters over sea level, and their feeding is based on corn, alfalfa and oatmeal; the way this cheese taste is different from those produced in very industrialized ways.
What is the taste of the different Asiago cheese?
It is not a secret that Asiago cheese tastes very good since we are asking what does Asiago cheese taste like, right? Well, since there are several variants of the same cheese it is possible that you may need to know what is the taste of the different Asiago cheese. So, let’s check them out!
First up, the main and “classic” Asiago cheese. This one is described as fresh, with a very nice milky aroma. The texture of the classic Asiago cheese is delicate and soft; its crust is thin and flexible. It only matures after 20 days as a minimum and it looks white. It can also be slightly yellow with some random holes because of incapsulated air.
The different and aged Asiago D’allevo cheese is even better; with its stronger taste with a texture that is creamy and yet granulated. To make it, the milk would be processed up to three times at different temperatures and added ingredients. The ageing process would take from 90 days up to three years!
And the last one, the pressato, is produced with whole milk. As you may suggest, at some point of the process the cheese would be pressed into molds with the help of a hydraulic press. The final result would come between twenty to forty days after.
To wrap things up, what does Asiago cheese taste like? It is quite simply a nice cheese that tastes very similar to milk; with a very delicate texture and a thin and flexible crust. When it ages, you can get a cheese that has a strong taste, yet delicate enough to match its fine texture.
You could get several variants of the Asiago cheese, with the most predominant ones being the classic that comes just after 20 days of maturity. The Asiago pressato is pressed into molds by using a hydraulic press, and the Asiago d’Allevo comes after 90 days as a minimum.
Whatever choice of Asiago cheese you pick, you need to know that only the ones with the protected designation of origin from Europe would offer the taste you are expecting. This cheese may be produced outside of Italy as well; however, only the ones from the area are the best tasting.